Garrett Safron: Continuing to build his brand in Japan!

Garrett Safron had already made a name for himself before signing on as the quarterback for the Asahi Challengers in Japan’s X-League Area the country’s second division.

He had left his mark as the signal caller for the Dacia Vienna Vikings, leading them to the Austrian Football League final in 2018 and prior to that excelled as quarterback of the Dresden Monarchs in the German Football League in 2017 throwing for 3,463 yards and 45 touchdowns. He first made the headlines internationally in guiding the Milano Seamen to the Italian title in 2016.

It’s no wonder his latest stop in Japan is no different.

The 6’2″, 200 pound, 28 year old quarterback from Santa Monica, California has been with the Challengers for two seasons. In 2019, Safron led his squad all the way to the X-League Area championship, collecting Rookie of the Year and team MVP honors on the way. During his two seasons in Japan, Safron has been one of the country’s most exciting players to watch, using his athleticism and strong arm to improvise and make big plays. During his time in Amagasaki the well-traveled Safron has grown to enjoy the Japanese lifestyle:

“Japan is a vibe! Super traditional. And they take their football super serious! It’s a whole different world out here but I’m enjoying the moments. Our import group is really close. So that makes the experience that much more fun”

Garrett Safron escaping tackler while playing for the Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers Photo: Challengers

Before his passport was full of stamps, Safron was learning to play quarterback at his high school in Santa Monica, California. After a solid senior year, he was hoping to earn a scholarship but was simply overlooked by many college programs. Eventually he chose to walk on to Sacramento State (NCAA D1 FCS).

“Honestly I didn’t really even know my potential. I was still learning the game of football during high school. I had zero offers coming out of high school, and didn’t even know if I was going to play football again. Sacramento State called late and brought me in on an official visit. I thought they were going to offer a scholarship. They didn’t! I remember calling my high school coach. And I was crying, like basically calling it quits. He gave me the motivation to go to Sacramento and earn everything. “

Garrett Safron playing for the Dacia Vienna Vikings Photo: Andreas Bischof

Safron earned that scholarship on his way to an impressive career for the Hornets. He became a 3-time all-conference quarterback and finished his career with 9,713 and 86 touchdowns. Including an impressive senior year where he racked up 3,490 yards and 34 touchdowns. His gaudy numbers got him a minicamp invitation from the Oakland Raiders. Unfortunately, his time with the NFL did not last long. But the Milano Seaman (Italy) one of Europe’s top clubs were ready to sign him.

“After the NFL didn’t pan out. I was getting messages on Facebook. And one of the first teams that hit me up was the Milano Seamen. I just wanted to play football. Without doing any research I agreed to take my talents overseas.”

His three seasons in Europe was excellent preparation for playing in Japan.

Garrett Safron leads Milano Seamen to Italian title Photo: Mirka Lukaszek

Safron and the Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers just finished up their pandemic shortened season with a perfect 3-0 record. Hungry for more than three games, Safron and the Challengers are looking to bring their momentum into next season.

“The first year we didn’t finish how we wanted. We lost in our championship game. We were ready to come back in year two and take it all. But unfortunately, that didn’t happen. So year three should be the one where we come in and really make some noise! ”

Alex Malchow
Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football stories from across the globe.
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